CONWAY, S.C. The Coastal Carolina softball team picked up the first win of the season with an 8-0 victory over the Elon Phoenix on Sunday, Feb. 18. Freshman Alicia Irwin hit a grand slam in the third inning in the victory.
The Lady Chanticleers started the scoring when Elon pitcher Melanie Helterbran walked Allison Cantrell (McDonough, Ga./Eagle's Landing), then Danyelle Gerdts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) hit a single to third base. Both advanced when Kimberly Cillis (Magnolia, Texas/Magnolia) hit a single to left field. Kristina Sheppard made it to first after a fielder's choice put Gerdts out, but scored Cantrell bringing the score to 1-0. Candra Witt (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) advanced to first on a third strike passed ball. With the bases full, freshman Alicia Irwin (Salina, Kan./Salina South) ripped the ball over the left field fence brining everyone home and getting her first career homerun. The Chants ended the inning on top 5-0.
In the fourth, Coastal held the Phoenix to no runs and allowing only one hit before they went to bat for the final time. Senior Kristina Sheppard then picked up two RBI's when she hit a triple down the right line to go on top 7-0. Next, Carla Hood (Marion, S.C./Marion) stepped up to bat with two outs and hit a fly ball to left field which was dropped and scored Sheppard bringing the score to 8-0. The Lady Chants then took the field for the final time and sealed the five inning victory over Elon.
The pitching staff for Coastal was first Brittney Hollifield (Rockford, Tenn./Alcoa) who pitched for three innings allowing only one hit and stuck out one batter. Also seeing time in the circle was Ashley Frederick (Lusby, Md./Patuxent) who pitched the final two innings allowing no hits and striking out four batters.
In the earlier game, Coastal fell to the Lady Bison of Lipscomb University for the second time over the weekend.
The Chants were on top Lipscomb 2-1 after three innings. In the fourth the Lady Bison took the lead when Abby Keese hit a homerun scoring two runs and taking a one-point lead. Lipscomb then scored two more runs in the fifth off four hits.
In the bottom of the fifth, Gerdts reached first after hitting the ball to shortstop and beating the throw to first. Then after a sacrifice bunt from Cillis; Sheppard hit a double to right center, scoring Gerdts for the RBI and bringing the score to within two runs. Four more hits from the Lady Chants were not enough to close the gap and Lipscomb took home the 5-3 victory.
Up next, Coastal will head to Columbus, Ga. to compete in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Leadoff Classic Feb. 23-25.